Why Do the “Mens” Want to Go Back to the Office So Bad? 

Available for Interviews: Dr. Hope Umansky

Dr. Hope Umansky is an American Culture College Professor with a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She is also an author on educational reform, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

What Dr. Hope can say in an interview on
Gender Roles in the Old & New Workplace:

That group is what I characterize as the “mens”; it is decidedly not a typo. The mens, utilizing the definition in the Time article, are itching to get out of the “kid and home sphere” where it is clean, less sticky, where time means something (I have a meeting at 1 don’t bother me; 12:55 pm– “MOMMM, the cat threw up all over your desk!”—in this world of WFH time is fluid. Meetings are not so much scheduled as let’s put it down and I hope no one gets sick; we’ll hope for the best.

According to the recent Time magazine article, “Nobody Wants to Go Back to the Office As Much As White Men,” the men they are speaking about are the definition of boomer or near boomer age white men who enjoy a level of privilege in the corporate muckety-mucky. The last two-plus years of the men’s seeing the world of children (often still too often the domain of women and primary child caregivers).

The article captured the privilege not just of this type of man who works in a high-level occupation but the vision into women’s or children’s primary caregiver’s world that is sticky messy and runs on Dr. Suess’s time. I have heard many anecdotes from female friends and none in my own dynamic that even if both sets of parents are working from home, moms still get the bad end of the stick in childcare duties. Our work still suffers from the porousness in family structures with having a mens and a mom who works. 

The mens want to go back to the office so badly to put physical space between not just getting roped into childcare or pet duties, but the sheer messiness and unpredictability of the primary child caregiver’s life, whether he/she is working or not. It is inconvenient for them to see and even more so to hear the constant chaos, and have made the office sterility even more appealing. 

The workplace is a pseudo locker room, cleaner, with suits, and nice snacks—a bunch of uninterruptible cubicles. Most primary caregivers of children, still statistically speaking women, do not want the old guard but desire a more flexible relational arrangement that allows for work and parenting without constantly having to apologize for having competing priorities. In 2022, why can we not still have both? This would mean that a new idea of leadership enters the workforce that is compassionate and flexible. It would mean the destruction of top-down leadership that sees only good work as emanating from a structured office with work clothes on. The question remains though, can the mens unsee what they have seen, and can the women or primary caregivers working who are also covered in sticky fingers ever unsee them working in a privileged bubble alongside them?

Recent Time Article:

No One Wants to Go Back to the Office As Much As White Men


Interview: Dr. Hope Umansky

Dr. Hope Umansky, a.k.a. Dr. Hope, is an American Culture College Professor and an author on educational reform, equity, inclusion, social justice & American culture. Her column, Dr. Hope On Point represents the intersection of historical context and popular culture, with an emphasis on the complex human experience.

Hope Umansky, PhD, offers a unique psychology-based perspective on the questions and events that weigh heavy on our hearts and minds.

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